AMD Phenom X4 9950 and 9350e Quad-Core Processor Review

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Phenom Processors Get a Speed Bump

AMD was busy last month with the launch of the ATI Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870 graphics cards, which have proved themselves to be price versus performance winners. This month, AMD is starting off by launching three new processors: the Phenom X4 9950 processor and the energy-efficient Phenom X4 9350e and 9150e processors.  When AMD announced the 50-series of quad-core processors they brought hope to AMD fans around the world as the TLB erratum was fixed thanks to a new and improved B3 stepping. All of these new CPU’s are based off B3 silicon, so no worries about the TLB erratum.

AMD Phenom X4 9950 Processor 2.6Ghz

The new AMD Phenom X4 9950 is now the fastest processor that AMD has to offer and is just a speed bump of the Phenom X4 9850 that we reviewed many months ago.  This flagship part is a 2.6GHz processor manufactured using AMD’s 65nm Silicon on Insulator process technology (AMD will make the move to 45nm silicon later this year).  It should be noted that the Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition will retail at the same ~$235 price that the previous Black Edition Phenom X4 9850 sold for.  With the introduction of the Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition, the Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition will be phased out and replaced a normal (locked) Phenom X4 9850 model at a lower price point.

AMD Phenom X4 9950 CPU-Z 1.46

The nominal voltage on the Phenom X4 9950 is listed as 1.05-1.30 Volts, which is interesting as the Phenom X4 9850 was 1.2-1.3 Volts. Taking a look at CPU-Z 1.46 we can see the processor is running at a core voltage of 1.296 Volts, which is right where the nominal voltage should be. The chip has a Max TDP of 140W and has official support for a 2.0GHz memory controller and HT 3.0 frequency with Dual Dynamic Power Management technology. At 140W, a robust platform will be needed for this CPU as budget boards won’t meet the power requirements and will fail over time. For this reason AMD has a recommended motherboard page that they urge consumers look at when building a system around one of these parts.

AMD Phenom X4 9350e Processor Stepping B3

The other two processors that AMD announced this morning are more energy-efficient and as a results are less expensive and offer slower clock speeds. The Phenom X4 9350e and 9150e energy-efficient processors processors carry a maximum rated TDP specification of just 65 watts, which is just a fraction of what the 140 Watts flagship processor could reach. AMD is aggressive on the pricing on the two new quad-core, energy-efficient CPUs and placed them both under $200, with the X4 9350e and 9150e energy-efficient processors priced at ~$195 and ~$175 respectively.

AMD Phenom X4 9350e CPU-Z 1.46

The AMD Phenom X4 9350e has a core clock frequency of 2.0GHz with a total processor bandwidth of up to 31.5 GB/s and a HyperTransport 3.0 speed of up to 3.6GHz full duplex (1.8GHz x2). The AMD Phenom X4 9150e has a clock speed of 1.8GHz and a slighty lower total processor bandwidth of up to 29.9 GB/s and a HyperTransport 3.0 speed of up to 3.2GHz full duplex (1.6GHz x2). The AMD Phenom 9350e we are using today has a nominal voltage of 1.05-1.125 Volts. We fired up CPU-Z to confirm the specs and found everything to be in working order on the MSI K9A2 Platinum motherboard that we used for testing. 

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